Bishops elevate popular Alaskan retreat to national shrine

IMAGE: CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec

By Nancy Wiechec

(CNS) — A popular Alaskan retreat has been designated a national shrine by the
U.S. bishops.

Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, announced the news on the Oct. 1 feast of
St. Therese Lisieux, the patroness of Alaska after whom the Catholic shrine is

National Shrine of St. Therese, located about 23 miles north of Juneau along
Glacier Highway, has served as a place of spiritual refuge since its dedication
in 1941.

shrine is a place of tremendous spiritual and natural beauty for all who
visit,” Bishop Burns said in a statement. “We are happy the bishops have
confirmed what so many shrine visitors have felt in their hearts — that the
National Shrine of St. Terese, Juneau, is a gift from God and a treasure to all
who pilgrim to her shore.”

46-acre site in a forest of Sitka spruce and western hemlock overlooks the
waters of the Inside Passage. Along the shrine’s many paths, visitors can enjoy
wide vistas of water and ice-frosted mountains.

by the Diocese of Juneau, the shrine ranks among the top Juneau attractions by
online travel guide TripAdvisor.

include the shrine’s beach-stone chapel on an islet accessed by a raised stone
path. The shrine’s Good Shepherd Rosary and Grotto Trail and its Merciful Love
Labyrinth are additional places for prayer and reflection.

shrine is open to all and accommodates overnight guests. Its main lodge and
four cabins are available for rent by individuals, groups or families.

U.S. bishops’ committee on divine worship oversees the designation of national
shrines. In criteria for naming such places, the bishops cite the Catholic
tradition of pilgrimage as an important part of pastoral life.

remind us that the journey we take to a place of special devotion designated as
a shrine mirrors the journey on which we are embarked as the pilgrim people of
God,” reads part of the norms.

Juneau shrine of St. Therese is now among a list of some 70 Catholic national

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Note: For more information on the shrine or to make reservations, visit

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